There are no knights in shining armor unless you shine up your armor, sharpen your sword, and enter the fray of life on your own behalf.

Beware of people who want to save you from inevitable hurt and the unavoidably difficult.

Things most difficult to achieve are usually the things most worth achieving. Begin with the toughest first. This makes all the rest feel like down hill.

Learn the 80/20 principle.

Quick fixes usually give rise to new, greater, and unexpected problems than the quick fix sought to initially to address.

If you get something for nothing, someone is getting nothing for something.

While no Smith-ism, it is worth repeating: too good to be true probably is.

Tell everyone you know who you are, what you want, what you expect. This is called defining yourself. If you do not, others will do it for you.

Life’s hardest tasks: enduringly loving an equal; rearing children; working in a family business; keeping the appropriate and enduring devotion of your children; and, avoiding fast food.

Remember you cannot simulate adventure. It is either adventure or it is not.

Avoid risks and adventures (in an effort to be always safe) and you will one day be saddened by what you have missed, and wonder why people avoid you at parties.

Never return evil for evil. Speak well of others, particularly those who do not speak well of you.

Be polite to strangers: only very few are dangerous.

The only things that will disappear if you ignore them are your teeth.

Adopt children, formally and informally.

Help others find their own greatness.

Welcome ambiguity. Avoid simple answers.

Don’t complicate your friendships. Life is already complicated enough.

Beware of people who are overly shiny, good, and nice. Often they’re not. Good people don’t work at looking good. People who are not, have to.

Be wary of new friends who instantly befriend you in a new place. Too much too soon is seldom a good idea.

Find a way to learn, and remember, people’s names. It will do your more good than understanding advanced algebra.

Have fun with your mother. Be open with her and try to tell her everything. Men and women who are open and friendly with their mothers are often much less anxious in every area of their lives than those who are combative with their mothers. The umbilical chord is infinitely elastic. You’ll trip over it for the rest of your life if you don’t take care of it early on.

Write your father letters he’ll treasure.

Phone your grandparents a lot. Tell them as much as you can about your life after you have asked them as much as you can about their lives.

You can take a bicycle apart and put it back together again. You cannot do this with a frog. One is living (the frog) and the other is not (the bicycle). Friendships are more like frogs than bicycles. Once you rip people apart (of course I mean figuratively) it is hard to put friendships (and people) together again.

Be both careful and courageous with people.

If you observe you will see the most unhealthy (squeakiest) people usually get their way. Don’t squeak: it pulls everyone down and slows everything down. This doesn’t mean you should never complain. Just don’t whine and “squeak’ – it’s very tiresome.

Find out what you really want. For what are you willing to trade everything? The answer to this question is what you really want.

When “a door closes” sometimes you have to give up and see what other options are available. Sometimes when “a door closes” you have to go at it (metaphorically) with a sledgehammer or a chain saw or a battle ram and force it open. Wisdom is being able to know the difference.

Stay out of control – the controlling behavior of others. Instead, learn to self-govern, to control yourself. Relinquish your personal government to no one.

Focus on your strengths and not on trying to fix your weaknesses. You will always have weaknesses (areas of lesser skill) and focusing on them will detract from developing your real talents.

Don’t date people who tell you how to dress. It is the surest sign of control issues.

Get out of (avoid) being “middle-man” as often as possible.

Yesterday’s unresolved issues unfailingly emerge in today’s relationships, and thus we end up fighting ancient battles with those who were not even in our lives when the conflict began.

11 Comments to “Axioms”

  1. hey Rod
    I did a google on you and found myriads…. but this website seemed the most current…. hope you and the boys r doin ok….
    I have loved setting up “home” here in england – ywam scotland seems a long time ago now for the most part, although I still wonder about some of the shattered dreams I had…. and I did misscoming to open hand – I assume u r no longer doin that?
    i am workin as a learning mentor this year with children with challenging behaviours – so never a dull moment! and see where it leads…
    bye for now, and thanks for bringing pearls of wisdom into my life in the “one liners” I so much enjoyed and appreciated… and needed! thanks and love from Luci x

  2. Great list – well done. Thanks.

  3. nice impowering advise rod

  4. ok, you forgot one point, (though it may be because you are not a girl)… wash your hand BEFORE and after the bathrooming! and so true… do not forget the towel on the way out! LOL! GREAT list! I am going to have t practice yet for some of these!

  5. Hey Rod,

    I’ve written a book called Stepping Stones available at Has been reviewed by The Idler. Contains much researched information for youngsters. Check it out.

  6. Sounds good, but number 22 I think unfortunately is not always possible. What if your parents are both narcissistic abusers (according to professional psychologists), and you’re their scapegoat and they keep emotionally and verbally abusing you even when you’re all grown up? Should you keep chatting with and telling your mother everything about you still? She projects her garbage while acting holier than thou and takes cheap shots every chance she gets. Doesn’t seem like a very wise idea in that instance. Seems better to cut off abusers. Some people’s parents do in fact have character disorders. You can be as nice, as tolerant, as patient, or as appropriately assertive as possible and nothing ever changes.

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